Philly Native Skateboarding Across Country to Find Calm (and His Hair)

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Kimberly Paynter | NewsWorks.org
    Cross-country skateboarder Kevin Kreider learned how to skate in December of 2013 and started his journey on April 15, 2013.

    Ten pairs of shoes, four sets of wheels, three pairs of elbow and kneepads, and 86 days ago, Philadelphia native Kevin Kreider set out to cross the United States – on a skateboard.

    He left from Santa Monica, California on April 15, and rolled by the Philadelphia Museum of Art Thursday afternoon on his way to his ultimate destination, New York City.

    And he looked tired.

    "The funny thing is, I don't even know what my spiel is anymore because it's just been so long since I've been on the road, I'm like seriously why am I don't this crazy journey anymore?" said Kreider.

    He's not doing it for a particular cause, more for his personal health. Kevin was an actor and model in New York when he started going bald from stress.

    The trip didn't involve much planning. He started skateboarding last December and thought a challenge like this would help give him some perspective on his life.

    "I personally anticipated that I would be seeing and thinking a lot about my life," said Kreider. "In all honesty you're just so focused on the road and the cars coming by you, you're really not thinking about anything."

    It wasn't all Zen though. The trip left him with more than a few scars. Kreider estimates that he fell about 25 times – not that much considering he rode a penny board, half the size of a standard skateboard.

    He also learned alternate which foot he used to push himself along so that one leg didn't grow stronger than the other.

    Utah and South Dakota were among his favorite states, Ohio not so much. But he said his home state of Pennsylvania surprised him the most.

    "When it comes to uniqueness I thought Pennsylvania had so much personality, said Kreider. "I was looking at buildings thinking 'I've been here before,' but they looked so cool from a skateboard."

    His dad, Mark Kreider, was waiting for Kevin by the Art Museum when he rolled into Philadelphia, proud and also a bit surprised his son made it.

    "I don't think he planned it correctly, I don't think he organized it correctly," said the elder Kreider, who spent a few weeks on the road with Kevin during his trip. "There are all these things he should have done. But guess what, if he would have done all that crap, he wouldn't have done it yet!"

    Kevin wasn't even out of California yet before he thought about turning around.

    "It was 100 degrees at one point, it started to become desert, and there was just nothing," said Kreider. "At that point I was like, 'this is horrible, this is a horrible idea.' But I wanted to do this for myself."

    By the time he reached the other side of the country, his hair had already grown back.

    Kreider leaves for New York on Sunday. His dad says it will take him three days to get there, but Kevin thinks he can do it in two.

    After all, it's only 110 miles.